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Amazing things seen from/within Camp fences

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Animals in the camp and on the fence!

Unread post by MLAMBANE » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:18 pm

Visitors to the Kruger and more particularly the foreign visitors are lulled into a false sense of security in Kruger's camps. I have seen lions near the fence at croc bridge camp, and was stalked by a young pride of seven at orpen camp about 50m from the camp fence one night. We even had an elephant bull in Shimuwini Bushveld Camp! :shock: Five years ago while making coffee one night a leopard walked passed our hut in mopani, it was later shot by the park wardens for injuring two rangers in the camp. We have seen two leopards walking the fence at Letaba, one of which has been shot for killing the Letaba rangers son. The usual hyenas in Lower Sabie and Skukuza are a given :mrgreen:Also seen puffadders and black mambas in the Bushveld camps Biyamiti and Shimuwini. I was just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences in and around the camps ? :mrgreen:

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Unread post by BethR » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:09 pm

One moonlight night in Pretoriuskop a few years back, I walked round a rondawel and almost bumped into two Kudu bulls! I don't know who was more startled!! :shock:

Back in June, my family and I were camping at Maroela, right along the river fence and had an interesting experience... as anticipated, we were visited after dark by several hyenas prowling along the fence. We shone a spotlight in their direction and they slunk down into a ditch out of sight. Every now and then we could hear them growling at each other and see them peeking up to look at us through the grass.

After we finished eating, I was delegated to do the dishes and as I made my way to the kitchen, I passed by two grates over a drainage ditch that ran underneath the camp. Upon my return, I passed one and heard something moving down below. I put the dishes away and ran back with a spotlight...the hyena's were moving around in the drainage ditch...underneath us and the camp! A little disconcerting in some ways, but the grates are firmly secured down so there was no means of getting in the camp that way.

That night we also watched a civet walk along the outside of the fence and it was just about to squeeze under the fence when it was frightened off by an old female hyena.

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Amazing things seen from/within Camp fences

Unread post by Bush Andy » Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:46 pm

Hey everyone!! I have been thinking for quite some time about starting a thread relating to this topic and now i can finally do it :mrgreen:

I was just wondering if anyone has seen all the big five from inside a particular camp/s on different trips or the same trip. Not only the Big Five but anything unusual from inside the camp fences looking out... just sitting or scouting the fence? Also if you have seen some critters inside camps, that would be interesting too!!

I'll get the ball rolling... I have only ever seen all the big five from Letaba without driving out... just sitting or walking along the fence (separate trips). Saw lions hunting in the river bed right in front of the Letaba restaurant and have seen leopard in the river bed on two separate occassions. Have also seen some amazing tuskers from this camp on numerous occassions and a hyena that nearly took a little girls arm off who thought the hyena was a dog!

Orpen and Lower Sabie have been great with regards to sightings to and have seen four of the big five from within side these camps (excluding leopard in both regards :( ) The most memorable at Orpen being a huge black maned lion which troted past the fence, roaring only metres away!

Perhaps the most remarkable of all our sightings from within camps was at Lower Sabie about twelve years ago. It was very dry and the dam in front of the camp had dried to a mere pan with the Sabie river being reduced to a smallish stream. There was a herd of waterbuck (+-5) that had decided to come down fro a drink in the midday heat and a couple of hippo's in the water. We then noticed about seven lionesses stalking the waterbuck in the reeds on the far side if the river.

The stalking took at least 20 minutes before the lead lioness shot out from the reeds about ten metres from the waterbuck, four of them escaped towards the low level bridge, however one had no where to go other than into the Sabie river! The water was deep and the lions stayed on shore slapping the water with there paws. The waterbuck to everyone's horror was then chased back out of the water by the resident hippo's and the lions caught it on the far side of the river all muddied and dirty from the struggle!

Skukuza is also another gem of a camp where without even moving a muscle one can see millions of animals and birds! I have seen a fish eagle catch a fish right in front of the skukuza restaurant, a sight which i will never forget! On a scarier note we were walking around the Skukuza fence in the evening about two years ago with our torches shining out into the bush when we noticed something ahead of us in the dark... it was in the camp so we thought it might have been a duiker. It looked to big to be duiker though and with no knowledge of there being animals in Skukuza camp unlike Letaba (Bushbuck) we shined our torches and found ourselves about 5 metres away from a huge hyena walking towards us in the camp!! Fortunately the hyena got quite a scare to and moved off to fiddle with some dustbins a bit further away!

Seen an emaciated lion from the olifants look out point (TB?), a civet at Orpen and a thick tailed bushbaby in Skukuza.

Hope you have many stories to tell :D
A bird in the hand should be in the Bush!! ;)

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Unread post by Wild about cats » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:08 pm

Punda Maria - Was at the hide near the camping sites and decided I wanted to stay there as long as possible. It was very late at night and I was getting bored when I shone the light and to the right of the water was.... a cat!!!!!! Oh, how I love cats. I got such a shock I shone away immidiatly as I didn't want to hurt it's eyes. I slyly shone back to the spot slowly and saw a tail disappearing into the bush. I was so disappointed that I left. I am almost positive that it was an african wild cat, but it did seem rather big. 8)
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Unread post by BunnyHugger » Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:58 pm

On my, so far one and only to Punda Maria, my mate Tim and I were camping. We took a walk away from out tents and were were walking along (he was explaining to me how to tell the time using the Southern Cross) and I noticed that we were walking through a gate (OPEN WIDE). I thought nothing of it at the time. After ambling along for a few minutes, we realised that we were actually about 200m outside the camp, in the bush.
Needless to say we hurried back, but were not sure about closing the gate, so we left it open. In hind sight we should have closed it or at least reported it to the ranger on duty.
Earlierthat day, when we arrived in the camp, I got out of my car and walked to the fence. Hearing a noise I looked down and saw that I was a half-meter away from a Puff Adder. Fortunately it was bothered by my presence and was slithering away from me.
Once, many years ago, at Satara, there was a wart hog inside the camp. I stopped and my son flew out of the car and before I knew his intentions, he was trying to stroke it like it was his pet.
"Pumba" turned and niiped his butt.
Very funny at the time.
Another time in August at Skukuza, some loony was drilling hole in the concrete base so he could anchor his caravan side tent. Made an almighty racket with his hammer drill and I was seriously peeved.
The Monkeys took revenge thogh. Some timelater, he had gone on a drive or had left his site and some Vervets got into his side tent. The little beggars wrecked his place, turned everything upside down. I was so peeved by this inconsiderate use of his hammer drill that I took great delight in merely being a spectator and doing nothing to try and prevent any damage.
Sometimes nature ROCKS.
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It's imperative.

Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

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Unread post by camelman » Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:01 pm

Must have been 1993 or 1994,we were on a school bird club trip and were camping at letaba.After a afternoon drive we returned to the campsite to find a lion cub on our side of the fence and it's rather irate mother on the other.
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Unread post by ndloti » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:19 pm

At Tsendze in March at the braai at about 9pm heard rustling in the grass behind me , thought initially it may be the wind , but after a while I turned on the torch and saw the largest black snake ever moving 2 metres behind me between myself and the tent . There was about 2metres of it visible and the tail had not emerged from the grass . The 2metres is in no waty an exaggeration ! When I stood up it stopped and fled back into the grass .
The camp attendant had told me about the snake tracks he regularly found in the morning .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Unread post by RosemaryH » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:32 pm

Sirheni is another awesome camp for sightings.
On arriving back at camp one evening there was a pride of about 12 lions outside our cottage (on the other side of the fence of course :) ) At about 9pm that night there was the hugest commotion going on which continued throughout the night. At first light all was revealed. There was the biggest ever herd of buffalo in the river bed. The lions had taken down 2 buff calves the one was dead and the other injured but still alive. Some of the buff had formed a larger around the calves and were keeping the lions at bay. The rest of the buff were on the opposite bank. Eventually the buffalo started moving off and the lions went in. They lions remained for the rest of the day into the evening.
We also saw a croc walking to some water that was in the river bed. It only then that you really appreciate the size of these reptiles :shock:
There always seems to be some activity to witness from the camp!

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Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:56 am

Earlier this year I was setting up camp next to the fence at Shingwedzi when the tusker with the short trunk ambled up. He watched me for about 10 minutes, decided I did not need help, and wandered off again!

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Unread post by Kingfisha » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:41 pm

When in Shimuwini camp (I think 1997), we were the only ones in the camp for 5 days, being February and VERY hot.
One afternoon at about 12h00 we witnessed the resident leopard come down to drink and then chasing the impalas on the other side of the Shimuwini dam. Rolling in the dung, casually walking towards the impalas, trying to ignore them while they stood snorting and watching it. Then the leopard ran towards them again, just playing around.
This went on for about an hour when the leopard lost interest and strode off casually into the bush.

Also at Shimuwini, we arrived back in camp one afternoon after gate closing and found a herd of about 40 elephants swimming and playing in the Shimuwini dam, grazing right next to the fence and little ones diving right down into the water with just their trunks sticking out! What a show! The whole camp's guests were on the lawns appreciating the scene. The eles were there till after sundown.

Also in 1993 there was a lion kill in the Olifantsriver and we could view the lions for about 3 days from our bungalow while they consumed the buffalo they killed.

When staying in Boulders last year, we also used our torches to shine on the waterhole during one evening. A big herd of buffaloes visited the waterhole, a small cat and then later on, as we put the spotlight on the waterhole, there was the leopard. It disappeared and came back again after about a half an hour! It was wonderful!

(Although not KNP, I once saw an Aardwolf come to drink at the waterhole in Okaukuejo camp in Etosha late one night. Very special)

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Re: Amazing things seen from/within Camp fences

Unread post by Christined » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:38 am

Hi there! I would like to tell you about the amazing animals we have seen in Maroela camp when camping for a weekend two years ago: a huge badger entertained us over the weekend, running about in the camp at night (quite scary!); a porcupine took nightly walks around the camp, the normal hyenas prowled around the fence and one suprized us on our visit to the ablutions in the night - there was also a leopard, which we unfortunately did not see, but heard growling (or do you call it roaring - how do you describe the sound a leopard makes!) a few metres from the camp in the early morning hours! We also saw a cerval on the gravel road during the same weekend! This was the best 'five' we have ever experienced!

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Unread post by Marina » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:32 pm

Here's one of the highlights of our stay in Lower Sabie Camp this December...

Our safari tent was right next to the fence which provides the perfect path down to the river for the animals. As we had lit our fire for our evening braai we checked the fence for any lucky sightings, up strolled a male hyena, found a comfy spot on the grass and lay down! It was rather creepy knowning he was just lying there in the dark as we continued preparing our food. A few minutes later we hear "munch munch" sounds coming from the bushes... torches on... here comes a hippo having his evening meal, within two meters of the hyena. The hyena wasn't too bothered, he lifted his head throwing a sideways glance towards the hippo until the hippo turned and faced away from him, grazing in the other direction.

It was awesome enough seeing one creature so close to the fence never mind two different animals at once! :wink:

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Sightings from within the camp fence

Unread post by Robyn Brown » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:46 pm

In August 2007, I was fortunate to see 5 elephants including calves feeding and walking along the dry river bed at Berg & Dal. It was amazing to sit 10 metres away from these gorgeous animals and just watch.

A few evenings later we stayed at Biyamiti. On the other side of the fence were lions, which we watched for a long time. Some ellies came down to the watering hole and as they walked back they crossed paths with the lioness. One now knows who the true king of the jungle is. The ellies!! They sent the lioness packing. While this was all happening, to the left of the water hole 5 rhino appeared.

All night long the lions roared and grunted in the river bed in front of our cottage. This was truly an amazing siting.

We were also shown a python in a dead tree in the camp. Apparently the python was staying there after eating one of the vervet monkeys in the camp!


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Unread post by Deb » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:08 pm

Definately stay at Biyamiti! On our trip there in October, we were woken up at about 04:00 with lions calling to each other from opposite sides of the camp...then at about 06:00 they finally decided to re-unite. 2 females and 3 cubs strolled up the river bed to meet the one that was calling them! It was a very happy reunion!

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Unread post by Paulsly » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:36 pm

In the late 70's (when I was a twinkle in my dads eye) My parents where visiting a good friend / ranger who was living in Skukuza at the time. Well one night while they were braaing. a ranger came into the hunt and told my dads friend about a pride of 19 lions that had just killed a buffalo just out side the service gate, and had informed him that he had left the gate open for them to investigate if we wanted to take a drive after supper.

Well a while later my dad and his friend where inside the hut talking and my mom was outside standing in the dark with a torch watching over the meat.
She heard a noise in the bush 4 meters in front of her and shone the beam into the bush. To see 5 pairs of eyes staring at her.
Well she did not think twice and took off like a bullet straight into the hut screaming, except no noise came out of her mouth.
It took my dad 5 minutes to calm her down before she said that there where lions outside.
Well the ranger and my dad went outside to find 5 hyaena's munching away on my parents supper.

Since that day it has been my dads job to cook the meat.

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